Simple System is intended for experienced roleplayers and new roleplayers alike.
Update: Simple System Module for Roll20 - with a complete starter adventure - now included in all backer rewards of $10 or more! See the features section below for more details!
Simple System is a role playing game system I've developed to be compatible with any setting, with a unique card-based resolution mechanic. My intention was to make it simple to learn, fast to play, and easy for the Game Master and players to collaboratively tell a story.
I've also (somewhat selfishly) attempted to make it dead easy for Game Masters to prepare for gaming sessions by providing all the information they need on easy to use Setting Cards.
Simple System is for everyone - whether its your first roleplaying game or you've been playing for decades.
Finally what I'm really excited about - the templates I'm providing so that its simple for creative individuals to make their own setting cards and even their own complete settings built on the Simple System. If you've got a great idea for a roleplaying setting this is basically a turn-key way to develop it into products you can offer for sale as setting packs compatible with the Simple System, just add your own text and images!
Simple System is neither “crunchy” nor “rules-light” – it is “rules simplified”. This means that success and failure are not subjective – there is a rule for everything, but these rules do not rely on extensive tables and are not needlessly complicated. The mechanic for resolving anything you attempt is essentially the same regardless what it is, and even without dice there is still precise probability underlying the likelihood of attempts made by player characters and NPCs. In fact, the Resolution Deck allows us even finer resolution in terms of probability than a 20-sided die or even a pool of dice.
Attempts are fast because no time is required to build dice pools, and it also eliminates the need for making multiple rolls (such as for damage) as the card faces contain more information than is possible to display on a single die face. Not only is success or failure determined when you flip a card, but all additional game effects refer to information on the same card, and can all be activated/resolved without having to take any further action. This includes narrative and story-influencing elements.
Using a deck with a finite number of cards instead of purely random dice allows for a measure of player strategy, as they can keep in mind what cards have already been flipped and the likelihood of flipping a specific card (such as a critical success, critical failure, etc) on their next attempt. Finally, rules do not have to be memorized by the players or the GM, as anything applying to specific skills, flaws, powers, or equipment appears on Setting Cards kept in player hands for easy reference.
...Even create your own setting packs! Simple System is easily and infinitely expandable.
To get a good look at what makes Simple System unique, the first part of the rulebook is available for download here:
Please note that there may be some minor changes to the final product. The complete rulebook will have 4 parts, similar in length/number of illustrations, and total around 30 pages.
I've also created the first in a series of tutorial videos of the main elements of the Simple System and posted them on YouTube, which you can check out here:
Stay tuned for future installments.
Here is a list of features of the Simple System itself:
- Takes only minutes to learn
- ~30 page rulebook with all you need to know to play in any setting, with any kind of character, with absolutely no tables or long lists to reference during gameplay
- No restrictions in what kind of game you can play or what kind of character you can create
- Simple mechanic that doesn't slow down the game before or after an attempt is made, simply flip a card and everything you need to know is right there in front of you
- The Simple Resolution Mechanic has story-altering elements baked in, so each attempt has the potential to influence the story in interesting and unpredictable ways
- Super fast and easy preparation for the GM! (Yay!)
- Support Cards for easily setting initiative and keeping track of hit points, ammo, etc, speeding things up and eliminating the need for any writing/erasing
- Deep character creation with options designed for interesting roleplaying, and super fast to create (5 minutes or less)
- Specially laminated Character Cards take the place of the old character sheet, making information extremely easy to find and removing clutter from the gaming table
- Easily expandable without having to purchase and read through lengthy new books - new equipment, weapons, powers, skills, and opponents can be instantly added to your game with Setting Cards
- All special rules for equipment, weapons, powers, skills, and opponents printed on cards kept in player hands, so you never have to go searching for them
- Completely genre neutral, so assets from any setting are completely compatible with any others, making your game infinitely expandable and customizable
- Built from the ground up with VTTs (Virtual Table Tops) in mind, with all digital assets ready to drop into your game to integrate seamlessly with groups who play remotely
- Complete playable module with starter adventure included in backer rewards of $10 or more! Will include a starter adventure you can play right away, and all the tools to start creating your own VTT Simple System adventure.
- Digital products will be available in the Roll20 marketplace to expand your game.
- You can offer your own original creations built for Simple System via the Roll20 marketplace.
But we can't think of everything! Which is why all copies/versions of Simple System come with blank setting card templates so players can make their own custom/unique equipment, weapons, powers, skills, and opponents that take only moments to create and will be compatible with any setting.
This means you can:
- Easily port your favorite TV shows, movies, video games or comic books to the Simple System
- Borrow from or modify any setting to create your ideal homebrew setting to play in
- Create your own setting from scratch
- Join a community we're building through our website where people can share their custom creations
We're making available to backers the professional Photoshop and GIMP compatible template files to create professional original settings and setting cards, which they will in turn be able to offer for sale as setting packs. Simple System makes it easy in every way for anybody to create new worlds for others to explore and enjoy, whether you are an author who has already built an amazing fantasy world and want to get your fans involved and playing in it, or the creative type who has always dreamed of making your own fantasy world and sharing it with others.
I really like role playing games and have played with dozens of systems. And I have a group of friends who really enjoy role playing and are really just amazing role players. However, they are not as enthusiastic about picking up a 200 to 400 page rule book and reading through it as I am. Also, I always felt like they were a little let down every time they would try something unorthodox and I had to search through multiple source books for that one obscure table, or bring up some little used rule that seemed designed simply to prevent them from doing what they wanted to. Basically, the high demands of entry into most systems made it really difficult for them to be aware of all the rules and how they affected their attempts, and that lack of understanding detracted from the fun they could have.
I was also frustrated with how long it would take to create characters, and how difficult it can be to find something when you need it on a character sheet packed with information an how that slowed the game down. I also found that dice were a problem (this is sacrilege, I know) specifically in how they could slow the game down while players were figuring out what to roll, how many to roll, adding results, subtracting results, even rolling two, three, four or more times before a single attempt was resolved. All that rolling can add up, the net effect being that it slows down the pace of the game and saps some of the excitement. My goal was to distill all of this repetitive data collection down into a single action, with all of the effects and ramifications of your attempt resolved in the single act of flipping a card.
I've spent many hours designing and play-testing with various groups, ironing out all the kinks and streamlining everything to be as simple as possible without sacrificing depth and player choice. I hope you'll take the time to watch the tutorial videos above to see the potential the Simple System has to enhance your role playing sessions.
We've broken it down so each player in a group can make their own small pledge to receive the materials they individually need to play, or so that one person could receive an entire set to share with their group.
The Content Creator's reward is special in that it contains files compatible with Photoshop and GIMP intended for individuals who want to create professional original content intended for sale/distribution to other players via Setting Packs. The Content Creator's reward is also included in the "Hand's-On Complete Package" and the "Seat at the Table" reward package.
Adding to Your Rewards
I've been asked by many of you how to add additional Resolution Decks, Character Cards, and physical copies of the stretch goals. In order to do so, simply increase your pledge by the following amounts:
- Resolution Deck: $10/each
- Character Cards (pack of 5): $10
- Powers Deck: $6.50
- Sample Race Cards (pack of 10): $10
- Vehicle Cards (5 small and 2 medium): $7.50
- If you are an international backer, please contact me privately to ask about shipping expenses.
After the campaign ends, I'll be sending a survey to all backers, and at that point you will be able to describe exactly what additional items you backed for.
We reached our initial funding goal on the second day the project was live, so now we can think about stretch goals. This first batch of stretch goals is meant to expand the Simple System to give players and creators even more options:
$4000 - Powers Pack (Goal Reached!)
A digital pack of 30 powers will be included with all backer rewards of $10 or more. These fun and potent powers will be compatible with all settings that use powers, and serve as great inspiration for individuals and groups who want to create their own custom and unique powers using the include templates.
$7000 - Race and Class Cards (Goal Reached!)
These large 3.5" by 5.5" cards (the same size as the Character Cards) are double sided, and allow players even greater choice during character creation. Race Cards and Class Cards contain information on the race/class, starting ability scores, as well as any special skills, flaws, and powers members of that race/class inherently posses. Players will be able to use these special features in addition to any they choose during normal character creation. Each backer of $10 or more will receive digital copies of 10 sample races, as well as the templates for creating their own custom classes and races and guidelines on creating them.
$14,000 - Vehicle Cards (Goal Reached!)
Vehicle Cards come in two sizes, Small and Medium (this means there will eventually be a Large class of vehicles). I will include 5 small vehicles and 2 medium vehicles as digital rewards for all backers of $10 or more. I will also include pro templates with the Content Creator's packages (any pledge of $40 or more) to create your own vehicles, guidelines on creating balanced vehicles, and a vehicles rules supplement.
$25,000 - Space Combat Supplement (Goal Reached!)
The Simple System Space Combat Supplement was designed to hit that perfects sweet spot of racing your ship through space, dodging enemy fire and asteroids, while at the same time making sure each member of the crew is involved and can contribute to the success of your space missions. Space Combat Supplement features:
- Side by side design of the interior of your ship and the space map outside makes every player's turn count during a space mission
- Movement of ships is easy and fast paced, just like a movie
- Your ship can face off against a single opponent or entire armada
- Rules for ships of all sizes, from tiny fighters to massive capital ships
- Dynamic space terrain such as nebulae, asteroids, and space debris that serve as obstacles as well as create tactical opportunities
- Vehicle cards to give detailed information on unique ships
- Same Simple System resolution mechanics for resolving all attempts
I will be including digital versions of all the Space Combat Supplement materials, including space terrain tokens, 2 capital ship tokens with vehicle cards, 3 fighter tokens with vehicle cards, and a transport ship complete with a battlemap for the transport ship (which simultaneously serves as the vehicle card).
I'm really adamant about the format of the Resolution Decks and Character Cards, since those are the things that I feel do the most to update and streamline the roleplaying game experience. But getting them printed just the way I want and applying the special lamination to the character cards is really expensive unless I'm able to do so in certain minimum quantities. I could go ahead and offer the products through some print-on-demand service but that would be really expensive for you and your gaming group, and I want to make the Simple System as accessible as possible - including the price!
I'd also like to offer as many additional resources (item cards, skill and flaw cards, opponent cards, power cards, etc.) as possible right out of the gate. Kickstarter backers have the chance to make these things possible and the unique opportunity to receive all of them in digital format ready to spice up their games from the moment your reward arrives.
Additionally, to make these resources as attractive as possible, I will need the help of talented artists. Much of what we love about our hobby is down to the work of artists who can spend hours or days on a single piece of art for us to enjoy, and they deserve to be compensated for that work. Commissioning an artist isn't a matter of begging someone to draw something for you and expecting them to do it for free just because they 'like to draw', these artists rely on commissions as part of their livelihood.
I'm also very interested in giving the early backers a head start when it comes to making content of their own, so they can make their dream setting or cool accessories available to as many people as possible as soon as possible. We're excited to see what new worlds content creators will bring to the roleplaying community now that the Simple System makes it easier than ever!
About the Creator
I have been working in industrial design, graphic design, and as a commission artist for the past 15 years, and have been a roleplaying game enthusiast for about the same time. I've been making roleplaying systems for my own personal use for years, but Simple System is the first I'm making available to the public.
Video Intro Music - Lino Rise - Phobos - www.free-intro-music.com
Risks and challenges
I've already worked with some amazing artists, but I'll have to seek out some more in order to make sure the artwork is produced in a timely fashion without sacrificing quality.
Additionally, while I've already ordered some sample prototypes of some of the products (like the resolution decks and character cards) I'll have to ensure the print quality of all the products is top notch, and possibly make some modifications to my art assets in order to facilitate this. While I've accounted for sufficient time to accommodate this in the estimated delivery dates, it has the potential to cause a minor delay.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)